Constructed-Response as an Alternative to Interviews in Conceptual Change Studies: Students’ Explanations of Force

Sharon Price Schleigh, Douglas B. Clark, Muhsin Menekse
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Although interview formats support rich data collection in conceptual change studies, interview formats limit sample sizes. This study explores the possibility of using constructed-response formats as an alternative or supplement for collecting similarly rich data across larger pools of subjects in conceptual change studies. While research in physics education has successfully employed a variety of constructed-response formats to explore important questions, less research has explored the comparability and interchangeability of the data collected through constructed-response and interview formats. The current study compares analyses of data collected using both constructed-response and interview formats across a common pool of subjects. At its core, the current study explores the degree to which the data sets collected through the constructed-response and interview formats support similar inferences when coded with the rubrics from a recent series of studies on knowledge structure coherence. The results suggest that larger samples of students can be analyzed using the constructed-response format for this type of study. Future research is recommended to explore minor but significant differences that were detected in terms of tertiary variables that contribute to the focal outcome variables.


Conceptual change, Assessment, Science education

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Schleigh, S.P., Clark, D.B., & Menekse, M. (2015). Constructed-response as an alternative to interviews in conceptual change studies: Students’ explanations of force. International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology, 3(1), 14-36.

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